Two-time IMSA PC champion Colin Braun spent last summer calling NTT IndyCar Series teams to learn if any opportunities to test or compete in the final rounds at Portland and Sonoma were possible. Coming off a string of pole positions and wins in the CORE autosport LMP2 chassis he shared with team owner Jon Bennet, the 30-year-old Texan found some traction, piqued the interest of a few IndyCar team owners, but ultimately lost out on a few opportunities that went to more familiar open-wheel names.
With the recent announcement of CORE’s exit from IMSA’s DPi category, the soon-to-be free agent, who brings considerable oval experience from years spent with Ford in NASCAR, has been quite surprised to see how much has changed in the span of 12 months. This time, as teams are looking for new and experienced names to consider, Braun’s been the one receiving calls from the IndyCar paddock.
“It’s been encouraging and certainly makes me feel good about the fact that I’ve received a few calls coming in, not only on the sports car front, but also some calls on the IndyCar side of things,” he told RACER.
“Obviously, as people know the last year or so, interest has been building on the IndyCar side. I would love a great opportunity in IndyCar. I feel like I could do a lot of good things with all the varied experience that I have across ovals, and NASCAR, and obviously on the road course side in sports car racing.
“Our prototype cars are so darn quick now that I think jumping into an IndyCar, which is certainly a bit quicker, but not light years different than what we’re doing right now in DPi, would be a good fit. So with the calls that have come in, we’re working through those things and seeing all of what’s out there for me. It’s exciting.”
With upcoming WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races in Monterey and Georgia to complete with CORE, Braun is hoping to develop the inquiries received for IMSA and IndyCar and determine which direction is best. If it means continuing in sports cars, Braun won’t be disappointed.
“On my end, we have two more IMSA races left, so hopefully we can go out and make some headlines there,” he said. “But beyond that, I just feel like I’m in a unique opportunity as an American. I’m still young. I’ve got a lot of experience across a lot of different types of racing. So for me, the next six weeks are definitely important to see where those things lead on both the sports car and the IndyCar side.
“But my number one goal is to put myself in a position to be able to win races. That’s how I’ve always picked my rides and opportunities and found my path in this sport. I always going after opportunities where I felt I was in a position to win races.”
Braun has been fortunate to drive for the same CORE autosport team for eight years. In an industry where loyalty can be fleeting, Bennett’s choice to hire and keep Braun for almost a decade—only opting to part ways after deciding to step away from full-time racing—speaks volumes about both men.
“Obviously, it’s been a great eight years at CORE for me with Jon, and we sure have won a lot of races and championships together,” he said. “It’s been a successful relationship on the track and off the track, and it’s a definitely a special chapter in my career, and I’m thankful for Jon, and everyone there, who made a home for me for most of my 20s.
“And now, with Jon closing the DPi team, I’m excited about what the future has in store going forward. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this position of looking for a new opportunity, and it can be scary, but it’s also a chance to start another relationship, as I see it. For most of my life, my time as a driver has been being hired to win races for a team or a manufacturer. Continuing that is what we’re working on, and if it can be in IndyCar, great. If it’s IMSA, that’s also great.”